March 28, 2011
Just how big did Barry Bonds' head grow from allegedly taking steroids? The gossipy moment we've all been waiting for finally arrived on Monday when longtime San Francisco Giants equipment manager Mike Murphy (pictured below) finally came in from the hallway at the federal courthouse in San Francisco and testified how the size of Bonds' hat grew over the years. Spoiler alert: Murphy said Bonds' custom New Era 59/50 grew a whopping one-eighth of an inch in the first nine years he played for the Giants!
But Murphy's time on the hot seat was short and for good reason: the Giants season starts in three short days and he has a ton of work to do in the clubhouse at AT&T Park. Even more importantly, there was one more witness on Monday who had even closer interactions with Bonds while his alleged steroid use happened.
And ooh, it's a lady!
Monday's Main Event: If Bonds squirmed uncomfortably in his prominent seat at his perjury trial on Monday, he had a good excuse: His most intimate of areas were the topic of the day. Bonds' ex-mistress Kimberly Bell played doctor and gave her amateur diagnosis on the changes Bonds' body underwent around 1999, the kind of changes one would experience when one (allegedly!) uses anabolic steroids.
Bell, who dated the baseball star during both of his marriages but was spurned by Bonds in 2003, told of his acne breakouts, excessive bloating, hair loss, and, most pointedly, his swollen elbow, an injury that he blamed on steroid use.
Those expecting a more ... ahem ... blow-by-blow description of Barry Bonds' private parts will either have to have a wild imagination or prepare to be disappointed. Even though Bell testified earlier before the grand jury that Bonds' goodie bag had shrunk to half its size, she admitted now that fact is not true; they had merely shriveled. She was not pressed by either the prosecution or the defense to expound upon that fact and we folks following at home put away our orchidometers for future use.
When the defense took its turn to cross-examine Bell, lead attorney Allen Ruby took a backseat to Cristina Arguedas, who took a no-nonsense approach to portraying Ms. Bell as a spurned lover looking to profit from her failed relationship with a celebrity. The prosecutor mentioned Bell's involvement with former Bonds confidant Steve Hoskins and Bell's demands for money from Bonds after their breakup as evidence that Bell was just trying to capitalize on her ex-lover's fame.
Arguedas not only brought up Bell's interview with Playboy magazine, countless radio and television appearances with the likes of the vulgar Howard Stern, and planned tell-all book with some co-writer named Aphrodite Jones, she took one more step to crush Bell's credibility: accusing her of mortgage fraud.
Arguedas accused Bell falsely saying that a $10,000 downpayment on her Arizona condo was a loan from her parents. In fact, the money went in a far more roundabout fashion, from Bonds to her parents right to her pocketbook. Mortgage fraud? Maybe. A crack in Bell's credibility? Maybe not. Who among us hasn't fudged some numbers when noodling around in real estate? After all, it's not like any kind of bubble could be created and then suddenly burst from such creative accounting, causing a worldwide economic collapse.
When the Circus Comes to Town: While being questioned by the prosecution about the changes in Barry Bonds, Bell said that around the same time he was getting acne and growing increasingly irritable, Bonds had trouble performing sexually.
Still, during cross-examination by Arguelas, Bell admitted that Bonds had a slew of other mistresses all over the country at the same time. Funny, if Bonds was suffering from sexual impotence with Bell, was the same happening with the other ladies he was seeing in cities across the country? Or perhaps Barry simply had a headache every time he was in Arizona with Kim. We men are not machines, you know.
Quote of the Day: United States District Court Judge Susan Illston, provoking laughter by warning the jury on the video clip of Bell's media tour being shown in the courtroom.
"It is the Geraldo show, we have no idea if what is on it is true."
Geraldo's trustworthiness: About as empty as Al Capone's vault.
Photo of the Day
The AP photographer probably could have caught Arguedas in a more flattering pose, no?
What's Next: On Tuesday, former Giants trainer Stan Conte (no relation to ex-BALCO head honcho Victor Conte) is due to make an appearance on the stand. Unlike some of the other prosecution witnesses, Conte has no credibility issues and the defense could struggle to paint him as a vengeful witness. Of course, Conte left the Giants to work for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Is there anything more mutinous and vengeful than that?
There is also a slim chance that former MLBers Jason Giambi(notes), Jeremy Giambi, and Randy Velarde could be called up to testify that they received PEDs from Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson. Will anyone in the jury bring their autograph book?
Convict-o-Meter: Clicks up two notches to 6 out of 10. The defense threw Cris Arguedas at Kim Bell not only because she has a reputation as a strong cross-examiner but probably because they thought it'd be best to have a female lawyer go strong against a female witness. Unfortunately, Arguedas' aggression was a bit too much at some points and she never got Bell to admit that she was angry at Bonds. Finally, the prosecution had a witness who didn't crumble on the stand like Hoskins or end up in jail on contempt charges like Anderson.